Archives for posts with tag: the shift of ages

There is a debate which has been circulating on Facebook which I got sucked into last week. It concerns the Dalai Lama and whether his search for inner peace should be interpreted as an indifference to injustice, especially if it messes with a personal sense of calm.

Dalai Lama1

 

This sort of debate I realise is a challenge for me right now. On the one hand I’ve been respecting and practising much of the Buddhist principles of meditation, non-attachment and letting go. On the other, I am now working for one of the most outspoken and respected human rights organisations whose responsibility it is to speak out – with force and anger if necessary – on grave injustice. As already noted in my previous blog post, I am entering a new chapter in my personal transition which requires integrating all I have learned on a spiritual level in a meaningful way, as I go about working on difficult or upsetting issues which are likely to provoke negative emotions and energies.

It got me thinking again about anger and how we use it. There is no doubt that political change often occurs after anger has resulted in positive or constructive action. But is this the emotion that should really be guiding us? Or has it become our default reaction to life’s challenges because of the political system we live in, which we know tends to favour the privileged and neglect the needs of the impoverished or voiceless? Even if we look at the United Nations system – supposedly a bastion of peacemaking – we see that much of our international relations is governed by the interests of the five permanent members of the Security Council, some of the most powerful nations in the world.

It is hard to imagine our world not being governed according to the political interests of the most powerful countries. But that is what the Dalai Lama, Buddhists, shamans, yogis and millions across the globe – from the temples of Asia to the forests of the Amazon – are indeed trying to do. They believe that the day will come – maybe not in our lifetime, and maybe not in the next – when this type of political system will evaporate and be redundant, because our lives will be governed by a far greater force than money or power.

They are preaching a completely new system of thought and action, which starts at the individual level through meditative practice, but which is truly expansive and universal in scope. It is only once we look deep within ourselves and realise our connection with every living soul on this planet – beyond boundaries, or front lines, or negotiating tables – that we might be able to realise a shift in our entire ideology and philosophy. When we connect with the purity of love and compassion which exists beyond the habits, attitudes and energies we pick up from our social environment, our anger falls away. Indeed, conflicts so often rage on because the warring parties are unable to let go of the anger and negative emotions which burn inside them.

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OK, so I know sitting and meditating, and connecting with our pure and positive energies isn’t going to bring peace overnight. It won’t succeed in stopping the exchange of fire between two warring parties and it won’t succeed in getting a resolution tabled at the U.N. But dare we let ourselves believe that it is one small step in generating a whole new conception of life and how we relate to each other? The Mayans would argue that we have indeed reached a new and profound phase in human existence – we entered this phase on the 21st December last year, when we moved to a higher state of consciousness. We have entered an age of greater awareness, and a re-connection with wisdom which has been lost through the previous age of rapid technological progress and a neglect of Mother Earth. There may be many more wars, more bloodshed, and more environmental disasters before we truly realise this new phase in human existence – this is all part of the Shift of Ages. But the indications are already there of many millions of people challenging the current world system; not only by taking to the streets as we’ve seen with the Occupy movements and the Arab uprisings, but also choosing to engage in spiritual practice. Whether we choose to get on board and be part of this shift depends on whether we are ready to let go of old structures, ideas and thoughts which we have been bound by for hundreds of years. If we want to see real, transformative and positive change on our planet, then we must start from within.

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Another year is about to draw to a close. And what a year it’s been, it seems for most people I know. 2012 has been the year of drama; of emotional upheavals, of extreme weather conditions, of personal tragedies and major transitions.

Fireworks

Fireworks (Photo credit: bayasaa)

The world didn’t end on 21st December, but then that was never really the prediction. What the Mayans and others have predicted is far more subtle and powerful, and far easier to hold both belief and hope in; the dawning of a new world in which we let go of the selfish ego and all our negative habits and beliefs. A world in which we feel the universal connection and no longer view ourselves as separate and isolated, or divided by religious, political or geographical boundaries. Where greed and self-interest no longer govern our desires, and instead we are driven by love and compassion. This sounds like a massive and ambitious project, and it is; we were never going to see changes overnight when the 21st December finally arrived.

I myself had the flu for that entire week, which stayed with me throughout most of the Christmas period. I didn’t feel much like celebrating anything, or even engaging in some major transition predicted by so many millions to occur during this time. But on the 21st December I did at least manage to sit myself down in a quiet place and consider the year so far – my challenges, my achievements, and all that I have overcome – as well as setting some intentions for the next year ahead. Such an exercise isn’t about new year’s resolutions that never get honoured; it is, again, about hope and belief – that we can move through whatever difficulties and dark periods that we experience, and learn from them. Our intentions should be about personal growth – about learning to love ourselves and to forgive others, and taking concrete steps to achieve these goals. This might mean promising yourself a special moment or treat each week that’s only for you; or forgiving someone who you have felt hurt by. Our personal growth is also about letting go of anxiety, anger and fears and maintaining courage that we are on the right path, even if that path can at times seem murky and full of obstacles.

And so intentions for the year ahead aren’t about making promises that can’t be kept – we have to be honest with ourselves, about what we need in order to really grow and realise our true nature and purpose in life. Material goods are important in achieving goals, but having spent a year in unintentional unemployment, I know now not to wish for a new job and loads of money. The last year hasn’t brought me material wealth, but it has brought me other gifts of courage, strength and moments of inner peace which no money can buy.

There have been tears – a whole ocean of them. There was a dark night of the soul, or did I have more than one of those?! But I’m reminded of a great quote by the spiritualist Mooji (and whether you believe in God here is irrelevant):

“Sometimes God challenges you to find strength you don’t have.
Only like this will you go beyond your imagined limits.
You must be pushed so far that you are forced to be humble. Only then, when your pride and arrogance are crushed, will you discover muscles that are not yours.
You will find and use the muscles of God. When you completely abandon yourself, your ego, this miracle becomes possible”

 

So congratulations to all that made it through this difficult year. Remember all that you’ve achieved, and all that you have the power to manifest in 2013, through honest intention and active commitment. By letting go of negative habits and beliefs, and encouraging love and compassion in everything that we do, perhaps we can put the world of darkness behind us.

 

I had hoped to write something myself about this period otherwise known as the Winter Solstice, the shift to the 5th dimension, ascension etc. But flu got the better of me. I didn’t factor that into my personal shift! But the following words seemed to resonate with me – this period is, like any other, about living in the now. We should be embracing this moment by turning towards our inner truth. Forget what the Mayans say – what is your soul saying to you right now?

Last night I stepped on to the Rainbow Bridge. In laymen’s terms, I let go of what no longer serves me, what keeps me stuck and fearful and manifested a deeper connection with myself, with the universe and with the love and compassion which binds us together. Yes, it was 12.12.12 and this was something worth marking, with a special ceremony of meditation, chanting, dance and sound in Brixton. How fitting that this should take place in a former nightclub that I frequented on a regular basis in my early twenties. This time round I didn’t need drink or drugs to get me dancing, nor to reach that euphoria and feeling of oneness and clarity. And today rather than having a hangover I woke with a feeling of power and purpose. 21.12.12 – the so-called End of the World – bring it on! I’ve stepped onto the Rainbow Bridge and I’m ready for whatever comes.

This picture depicts the seven major Chakras w...

This picture depicts the seven major Chakras with descriptions. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had learned about the Rainbow Bridge only the day before, whilst reading Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self by Anodea Judith. I was engrossed in the chapter on the Third Chakra, situated in the solar plexus. We cross the bridge when we move from individual to universal existence, from connecting with our deeper energy to the energy which surrounds us. In order to do this, we need to be stable and grounded in our first three chakras. The third chakra is the portal, which gives us the inner strength to take a quantum leap into the middle of the Rainbow Bridge, where the individual and the universal meet in perfect balance. This inner strength emerges when we break away from old patterns and habits that we have previously defined ourselves by – what Carl Jung calls ‘individuation’. In Anodea Judith’s words, individuation ‘is about daring to be unique, risking disapproval for the integrity of your own truth…Individuation is the unfolding of our unique destiny, the unfolding of the soul’.

I’ve realised that the third Chakra – symbolised by the Fire element, and associated with energy, autonomy, self-esteem and power – is where most of my blockages have been in recent years. A blockage in this area manifests itself through low self-esteem, emotional coldness, passivity, attraction to stimulants and a victim mentality. Those with weakened third Chakras struggle to identify their inner truth, and define themselves by what they think others expect. They operate with a great degree of self-control; those with third Chakra issues are often called ‘Endurers’, because they may be hurt by what they see or experience in their daily lives and interactions with others, but they consciously or unconsciously keep a strong and steady demeanour.  They refuse to let go of anger or grief, instead choosing to bottle it up inside, often leading to pain in the stomach or bowel area. Rather than act on instinct, they obey the will of others. But, as Anodea Judith remarks, ‘As natural instincts can never be fully repressed, they periodically erupt in shadow forms that only incrase the shadow and inadequacy. When we misbehave, lose our temper, fall apart, or have lapses in our vigilant self-control, we are driven to deeper shame’. Shame is the demon of the third chakra; we are quick to blame and punish ourselves when we lose self-control, when actually what we should be doing is laughing at ourselves, admitting our mistakes and learning from them.

I recognise this behaviour well, and have certainly been in situations where I’m in battle with my ego over what I really want, at times leading to mistakes and excess – usually involving drugs and alcohol, followed by a period of shame and regret. Overcoming the feelings of shame and low self-esteem requires a genuine leap of faith and, most significantly for me, a transition from our thoughts and concerns about those around us into our inner, deeper self. Stabilising the third chakra is all about feeling the transformative power within us and not being afraid to let our inner spirit, rather than our peers, be our guide. Once we regain that power we are ready to cross the Rainbow Bridge which connects us to the deeper love and compassion that lights up our world.

For many spiritual seekers, yesterday – 12.12.12 – signified the gateway or portal to the 5th dimension; the end of our current age, marked in the Mayan Calendar as 21st December, and the beginning of a whole new spiritual realm here on this Earth. It will be characterised by the letting go of grief, anger and hatred, and the birth of positive energies manifested through our upper chakras which have the power to transform our planet and manifest love, unity, balance and harmony.

What does this all mean? I’m beginning to realise that there is little point in trying to understand or intellectualise what is said and written about 2012. Ultimately, we either feel something or we don’t. And if we are willing to go deep inside ourselves, feel our transformative power and take a brave step forward and away from old habits which damage us and our universe, perhaps we can indeed be part of a shift for the greater good of this planet.

Is it just me, or are there a whole lot of strange occurrences this year, from the personal to the universal?

This question struck me as I was watching the news of the violent reaction to the infamous anti-Islam film on You Tube. As speculation continues as to whether the rapid escalation of the protests in Sudan, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and other Muslim countries were triggered by the film or were an expression of far greater and deeper discontent with Western powers, I’m wondering whether there is a bigger message beyond the political statements, arguments and counter arguments.

What would the Mayans have to say about all of this? They have the best knowledge after all about 2012, the year of ‘the Shift of Ages’, where many profound changes are to be expected. Some say that the sun and all the planets will align, others say that we’ll move beyond our seven chakras and connect with several more….still others say that all the extreme weather conditions, as well as the widespread political and social upheavals happening around the world, indicate a transformative and spiritual pattern which goes far deeper than any climactic or social unrest. The 21 December – the ‘end date’ in the Mayan calendar, can either be interpreted as an apocalypse, or a new beginning.

Apocalypse?

Apocalypse? (Photo credit: mikelehen)

This turbulence is new and different because it will shake us to the core, as well as our surroundings. For many of us, a dark cloud has already descended and is refusing to leave. We have to live with it, even embrace it, if we are to survive. This may sound dramatic, or complete nonsense to anybody not aware of a ‘shift’ or a change in their behaviour, attitudes, feelings and perceptions. But there are many people out there who are going through massive unprecedented transformation, at times scary and at times exhilerating. Many situations and events in our personal histories suddenly seem futile. Each day is a struggle to put our heads above the water in order not to drown in the darkness. We question everything that we used to hold dear, and we wonder where exactly our inner truth lies, and how to identify it.

I feel like my life has been flashing before me these last few days. Like characters on stage, the various people and circumstances of my past have put in an appearance.  One minute I’m sitting under an olive tree in Palestine with my dear friends there, the next I’m at Lake Victoria in Uganda, or at one of the many all night parties in Beckenham or Brixton that made up many a weekend in my twenties. Still the tears are coming – the other day, I was singing an old Judy Garland song from one of her musicals (I’m a soppy teenage obsessive when it comes to Judy, as many a friend of mine, rolling their eyes in disbelief, would tell you), and I found myself crying. It is like I’m going through a shedding process – shedding what? To move on to what? I’m not sure. But I am realising that a big change is taking place within me, and I just have to let it happen – the laughter, the tears, the heartache, the anger – they all have to wash through me, and I have to embrace them in order to truly heal. I knew that 2012 was to be my year of growth and acceptance – this was the promise I made to myself in January – but the path is harder than I had envisaged, and the results –  if there are to be any – still feel like some distance away, out of reach.

How do our erratic emotions relate to 2012, the Shift of Ages and the dawning of a new era? And what about all those unprecedented political and social events; was the Arab ‘awakening’ so-called because actually it indicates something far bigger than the sum of all its political, economical and social parts?  Can the angry and violent protests occurring around the Muslim world be explained beyond the grievances and anger felt by a significant number of the population in those regions? For me right now the debate doesn’t lie in political positioning and posturing, it lies in trying to identify in what ways our personal transitions relate to the greater universal transformation that Mayans believe will occur on 21 December. I would love to know what the Mayans themselves would say…but since I can’t travel several thousand miles to find out more, I’m hoping the blogosphere will come up with some answers!

Although sad, human nature often requires crises in order to break free from our patterns of complacency and convenience, and transform the structures which bind us. In one light, crises are actually gifts which push us to overcome our narrow thinking, assert our deepest values, and co-operate together on a grand scale.

Louis Pascal

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